Pat Vendrely ’85
A team player, from Maple Leaf athletics to the World Cup By Erini Shields ’07
The 2006 FIFA World Cup was watched around the world by more than 40
million television viewers and was attended in Germany by over three
million people. Most went to the games out of devotion and loyalty to
their country and love of soccer – but for Pat Vendrely ’85, it was
part of the job.
Vendrely, president of TGI Systems based in Chicago, was hired to
produce all of the signage for this year’s World Cup. “It was a great
achievement to be able to work on that world stage,” said Vendrely. His
business, established in 1997, has the first and only patented static
soccer field signage in the U.S., which is known as the AdTractm
stadium signage system. TGI Systems specializes in the production,
installation and management of large-format graphics and advertising
systems – especially for sporting events and properties. Besides the
FIFA World Cup, TGI Systems has also created signs for the FIFA U-20
Women’s World Cup, along with Chicago-based sports team arenas for the
Bulls and the Blackhawks.
Beyond personal satisfaction, he expressed great pleasure that his
company had the honor of providing the largest component of media at
the World Cup, especially since soccer is not very popular in America.
Vendrely said that his global awareness was a direct result of his
Study-Service Term in Belize as a GC student, where he learned to “know
what goes on in the world, not just [in] my town or city.”
Vendrely’s involvement in sports came at a young age. His father was a
basketball referee and his mother was a high school athletic director.
“It’s about what sports do for people, physically, mentally and
emotionally … I’ve always wanted to be a part of that, whether
participating or observing,” he said.
Along with playing basketball and baseball at GC, Vendrely also helped
with the intramural program during his four years as a student. He was
a physical education major with dreams of becoming a coach and a
teacher. After attending graduate school at Indiana University,
Vendrely held an internship with the U.S. Olympics in which he traveled
with the team to Barcelona in 1992.
In 2000, Vendrely was asked to help establish and chair the Maple Leafs
Athletic Club (MLAC). Since then he has assisted in organizing numerous
fund-raising events to support Maple Leafs athletes. “Just because I’ve
graduated doesn’t mean I’m off the team,” he said.